“Sometimes all the track needs is one synth”: Has Behringer found a techno percussion pearl with its Syncussion SY-1 drum synth reboot?

Not only is the announcement of Behringer’s Syncussion SY-1 giving us vintage vibes in the sense that it emulates a Pearl analogue drum synth of the same name that was released in 1979, but it also has us thinking back to 2021, when we saw our first prototype of the instrument.

At that time, Behringer simply seemed to be gauging the level of interest in a possible reboot. In 2022 we were told that, despite the chip shortages of the time, it had everything it needed to build it, but only now has the company gone official with a proper launch video.

Originally designed for acoustic drummers who wanted to augment their kit with some electronic sounds - and used by the likes of OMD, Soft Cell and New Order - the SY-1 was later adopted by electronic music producers such as Aphex Twin, and is something of a techno powerhouse.

In fact, the intro to Behringer’s video makes it clear that, if techno is indeed your bag, “sometimes all the track needs is one synth.” (That synth being this one, obviously.)

Behringer Syncussion SY-1

(Image credit: Behringer)

This new SY-1 is a 2-channel semi-modular machine that comes in Eurorack format and offers six oscillator modes (single oscillator, FM, dual oscillator mix, dynamic oscillator mix, FM/noise mix, and pure noise).

In each mode you can access tune, decay and filter cutoff controls, enabling you to create everything from electronic percussion to zappy sound effects. Pitch sweeping is a big part of the SY-1 experience, and each channel also has an LFO with square and triangle waves. This can be used to modulate the pitch or the filter.

While it doesn’t have a built-in sequencer, the SY-1 can be triggered from drum pads, other hardware or anything else you fancy.

Behringer says that the SY-1 is in stock and shipping priced at $199.

Behringer Syncussion SY-1

(Image credit: Behringer)
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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